Branching Out

The best thing about living well with a chronic disease is perspective. For much of the past six months I have been writing about what it’s like to be healthy with a chronic disease; to have an illness without a cure but not being sick or sickly. I can credit it all to the notion of branching out and doing something new. 

I drink my cup of green tea as I write down a list of things that I am branching out into: hot yoga, kale smoothie, saying no, trail running, not letting myself be taken advantage of, taking the time to watch the falling snow, feeling sad when it's needed, feeling human all the time.

Mid February is a great time of year.  It's the time that we either give up on our New Year's resolution or it's the time that we branch out and commit to the practice.

In Zen there is the expression “empty mirror”: when you see no reflection you have reached enlightenment (or you're a vampire). After reading that it struck me how rarely we notice who is in the mirror.  We see the detail and imperfections reflecting back at ourselves but do we recognize the person? Do you ever feel like you are wearing somebody else's body; you recognize the clothes but the face is a mystery that you can’t place a name too?

When we start branching out we begin to see ourselves. For many of us it is the first time in years or ever that we notice who is in the reflection.

I think the reason why we do not notice our own reflection is due to the fact that we do not branch out in life.  To often we get caught up living in the hamster wheel of life doing loop-tee-loop laps.

Take a hiatus, branch out into something new, go fail at something new. It's ok, have fun.